African Council for Communication Education (ACCE) is one of the biggest communication associations in the continent. This professional body which was established in 1979 passed through challenging times before surviving to its present position of reckoning. Some scholars took it upon themselves to carry ACCE on their back even during challenging times and ensure that the association had a strong foundation which made it a force to reckon with across the globe. These pioneers who could be described as ACCE Generals are legends, as far as communication education in Africa in concerned and one of them is a Nigerian. He is Thomas Adaba, an unassuming man who dedicated his life and media career to the development of ACCE and contributed immensely in taking the association to impressive heights.
Who is Tom Adaba?
Dr. Thomas Aaze Adaba is an internationally acclaimed broadcaster/media expert. He hails from Okene local Government Area of Kogi State, though he was born in Asaba, (today’s Delta State) on the 2nd of July, 1941. He was President of African Council for Communication Education (ACCE) between 1988-92.
Dr. Abada grew up in a devout Catholic home back in Okene. The environment he grew up in back then in Okene was quite conducive to live and go to school, so he had early encouragement to excel in education. He was a mass server in church as a kid and was very close to the white priest in charge of his Church back then because he was very good in English. He had intended to be a priest early in life but he spent only to years at seminary school and discontinued with that plan. He had told himself that if he failed to become a priest, the second option was to join the army and if he also didn’t make it into the army he would become a journalists. Obviously, he couldn’t make it into the first two professions, so he ended up a journalist. He ended up being one of the biggest names in Nigeria’s broadcast industry.
Dr. Adaba’s has an impressive educational background. He attended Christ the King Catholic School, Okene from 1947-1955, and Junior Seminary, Okpala. He also attended Teachers College, Atangba from 1956 – 1960. He then proceeded to the United States of America for further studies between 1969 and 1971. He attended Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA, 1969-71; Indiana University, Bloomington, USA, 1978-79; and University of Jos, 1986-89.
Dr. Adaba’s intimidating career spans across several years in both the classroom and field of professional practice. He began as a teacher at Catholic School, Okene between 1961-62; then as Tutor at Government Teacher’s Colleges, Okene and Bichi, Kano between 1964-66. He was a Lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria campus and Kano campus between 1969-74.
Dr, Adaba moved to Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) where he left an impressive mark that helped in building the station. He went into full-fledged broadcasting in 1974 and became the first Principal of the NTA Television College, Jos, from 1980 to 1987. He was Senior/Principal Producer, News Presenter/Anchorman, Nigerian Television Authority, Jos, 1974-80; Co-ordinator, Head of Presentation and Training, NTA, Jos, between 1974-77, Controller/Manager of Programmes, 1977-80; Pioneer Principal, Nigeria Television College, Jos, 1980-87; Assistant Director, Programmes, Headquarters, 1989-90; GM, Makurdi, 1990-91; and Deputy Director, Operations, Headquarters 1991-92.
Dr. Adaba was the first Director-General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Lagos, between 1992-2003. He also served as Chairman, Trini Communications; Producer, Director, Presenter of many television programmes, Teacher in-Service Education Programme, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria for the ten northern states of Nigeria, 1974; Station Manager, and Advanced Teacher’s College, Kano, 1972-74.
Community Service and Professional Activities
Dr. Adaba has served in various capacities in diverse organizations, boards, professional bodies and other special committees. Here is an intimidating list of these activities;
Board Member, Catholic Media Centre, Kaduna, since 1989; board Member, Kwara Printing and Publishing Corporation, (publishers of The Herald), 1990-92; Information, Education and Communication task force on Family Health and Population in Nigeria, since 1990; National Advisory Committee on Information, since 1989; National Co-ordinator/Executive African Council for Communication Education, 1986-88; Executive Board Member, Plateau Publishing Company, Jos, (publishers of The Standard), 1986; President, Association of Catholic Mass Media Professionals, Jos chapter, 1983-88; leader, Nigeria’s television coverage team to the Republic of Niger International Youth Festival, Maradi, Niger Republic, 1978; Head of Broadcast Operations, World Scouts’ Jamboree; African Festival of Arts and Culture, Lagos, 1977; Broadcast Committee, the World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture, 1976-77; International Students Scholarship Board, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA, 1970; President, African Council for Communication Education, 1988-92; Leader of Nigerian Delegation, UNICEF-sponsored workshop on Animation for Development in Prague, Czechoslovakia, 1990; Resource Person, UNESCO workshop on Audio Visuals in Rural Development, Ghana, 1989; Resource Person, UNESCO Nigerian Commission Communications Sector, 1989-92; National Institute of Public Relations; International Association of Mass Communications Researchers; African Council for Communications Education; International Institute of Communications, Winner, John Fellow, Kennedy Graduate Programme Essay, Nigeria, 1991-92; Knight of St. Mulumba; Ohi Etohueyi, Ebira, 1994; Rotary Club International, Paul Haris Fellow.
Dr. Adaba has lived for over 53 years with Mrs. Theresa Aaze Adaba, a woman he married on December 26, 1966. Their marriage is blessed with children. He left active service in 1989 and has lived a quiet life as a retiree since then.
Dr. Adaba is one of the legends of ACCE both in Nigeria and Africa. He put in so much effort to ensure the association got to enviable heights and his contributions to the society throughout his career reflect this unbelievable selfless service at its best. He remains a role model to many Nigerians especially in the broadcasting industry.